As technology continues to infiltrate more areas of business, we’re starting to see new technologies disrupt even more processes to improve business efficiency. The supply chain industry in particular is accelerating investments in evolving technologies in 2023, things such as artificial intelligence and metaverse technology.
These businesses are interested in understanding and exploring how such technologies can help drive innovation across their supply chains.
Digital supply chain twins
In 2023, we will see more companies construct and evaluate the use of digital supply chain twins. This is a detailed simulation model of an actual supply chain that uses real-time data and snapshots to forecast supply chain dynamics. From this, supply chains are able to forecast any potential disruptions that can affect their businesses and develop an action plan.
For example, race car teams use advanced computational flow dynamics (CFD) software to digitally model the aerodynamics of the performance of their cars.
Similarly, supply chain leaders are interested in using the tsunami of data from their supply chain operations to model the end-to-end supply chain processes so they can anticipate any potential problems or disruptions to a supply network that can be simulated in the digital twin environment before it has a major impact on the physical supply chain.
In the near future, companies will be able to model their supply chain operations in a very different way. This will comprise of updated technology to receive real-time data, like sensor data from loT devices, combined with external data feeds such as weather, social feeds, etc. Additionally, it will also include combined transaction data from a business network and insights derived from advanced AI/ML tools to provide supply chain leaders with visibility of the supply chain as a whole.
Previously businesses were overwhelmed with vast amounts of data, but now with the introduction of digital supply chain twins, businesses have a platform to examine all this data and derive more insights to optimise their supply chain operations.
Ecosystem command centre
Another upcoming strategy that businesses will be looking into is an ecosystem command centre (ECC) that will sit across a global business network. Companies today are interested in improving visibility across their end-to-end business operations. The ECC is an evolution of the control tower which many companies have implemented to gain insights across their business operations.
Powerful ECCs will leverage data moving across the network to derive unique insights into supply chain operations, providing visibility of supplier-focused Environmental Social Governance (ESG) compliance, assessment of ethical sourcing standards, financial health and managing sustainable operations.
Digital transactions to mirror physical movements
Moving forward, larger companies will also begin exploring how the metaverse could be used across business operations. Along the same lines, virtual reality and augmented reality technologies have been around for many years but they need a market growth driver to gain traction with companies and consumers alike. This ties in with the ECC which effectively allows companies to make an end-to-end digital representation of their supply chain in a 3D world.
At OpenText we have been working with companies for decades to digitise their supply chain information flows. This supply chain information mirrors the physical movement of goods as they are shipped across the supply chain. When these transaction flows are combined with loT sensor data, customers are able to monitor the condition and location of shipments anywhere in the world and then build a more accurate picture of the supply chain operations.
Supply chain metaverse
That 3D picture can potentially be visualised within a supply chain metaverse. It brings new levels of supply chain visibility and by ingesting AI and ML into their metaverse environment it would allow companies to run simulations of real-world supply chain situations, on the 3D virtual supply chain before applying it to their physical supply chain.
For example, if a disruption is experienced in the physical supply chain like an earthquake, businesses can stimulate this in the metaverse to understand the impact on logistics flows and monitor how introducing new suppliers to replace any disrupted suppliers, could impact the logistics flows in the network. Although this technology exists today, it will take a larger global company to see the potential in this and explore proof of concept demonstrations of this technology.
This is just the beginning, businesses can expect to see early proof of concept demonstration of metaverse technology being released in the market. With this technology, it brings a whole new perspective on supply chain management and given the opportunity, businesses should explore this new area of technology.